By Jennifer Klitzke
I took my naturally gaited Tennessee walking horse Makana to Lakeview Farms on Saturday, June 21, 2014. The farm hosted an open schooling dressage show featuring traditional dressage, western dressage and gaited dressage. It isn’t surprising that we were the only gaited entry, but, I was surprised to learn that our First Level Test One ride was the highest level test ridden of all competitors that day!
Lakeview is a well chosen name since the facility is located on a lake shore. Only June’s record rains have created a few more than the one lake it is known for. Flooding forced the schooling show to the indoor arena.
After we rode NWHA Training Level Test Three, judge Nancy Porter, a long time USDF R-judge remarked, “That was very interesting. Judging a gaited horse in dressage is a first for me!”
I smiled and thanked her for accommodating us as there are few venues for gaited riders to get expert feedback from an “R” judge on where we are at with our balance, rhythm, harmony, relaxation, suppleness, transition, submission, rider’s position, and use of aids.
Our recent lessons with Jennie Jackson helped us maintain our bending through serpentines and 10 meter half circles at a flat walk, our connection has improved over last year, and my mare’s canter was clearly three beat with more roundness. We received respectable scores of 64.2% in Training Level Test Three and 65% in First Level Test One.
Lakeview plans on one more schooling dressage show this Fall. I hope more gaited folks will give it a try. This is a very low-key, beginner-friendly show with beautiful trails to ride and even a trail obstacle course to play around in after your tests are complete. In fact, I met two women at the show who own Tennessee walking horses and one of the women tacked up after my last ride and we took a lovely trail ride through the beautifully groomed wooded trails.
Thank you to Lakeview Farm for accommodating gaited dressage at their schooling dressage show and to Nancy Porter for judging. It was a privilege to ride for and receive feedback from a USDF “R” Judge.
Video: NWHA Training Level Test Three
Video: NWHA First Level Test One
Video: Backing an L-shape